Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Daniel Burch’s Bold Predictions for the 2018 Season

I have to admit, and a bit of an ICYMI here, when I read Bryan Van Dusen’s bold predictions for the 2018 season here on the blog I immediately thought about potentially doing a similar post of my own. When I read the article and then the subsequent comments about how Bryan was “high on shoe polish” or whatever the exact terminology was I, for one, laughed because who says that? And two, I then decided I wanted to do one of my own, so I could see what kind of “your trade proposal sucks” comments I could get myself. So here we go, my bold predictions for the 2018 season.

As it has been stated basically everywhere on the Yankees blogosphere and on Twitter, the New York Yankees need either a second baseman or a third baseman. The free agent market is dry and/or too expensive for the Yankees blood as they try to remain under the $197 million luxury tax threshold (according to reports the team is sitting at $178 million after the CC Sabathia signing that could pay him an additional $2 million leaving the total payroll for the Yankees at $180 million) so it looks like the only realistic option for the Yankees going forward is the trade market. Enter Ninja Cashman, as Bryan Van Dusen and many others call him.

While I like a deal that could potentially add Michael Fulmer to the stable of young Yankees pitchers I feel like the Tigers don’t have a reason to HAVE to trade him, thus making him really expensive. Fulmer could easily bridge the gap during the Tigers rebuild and would have immense value for the team going forward, plus I would rather get this whole infield situation rectified first before I add a sixth starting pitcher anyway. With that said I can see Brian Cashman calling up his old buddy Theo Epstein in Chicago and swinging a deal with him. Who would the Yankees be acquiring? Both Javier Baez and Ian Happ are young, cheap, controllable, versatile and could conceivably be grabbed if the Yankees sweeten the pot enough. The Cubs need bullpen help, especially in the closing department, and the Yankees have a few options including Dellin Betances and David Robertson. Giving up one of these two pitchers, preferably Robertson because of salary, and a prospect that is MLB ready or close or two like Billy McKinney or Jake Cave and a Domingo Acevedo (basically anyone but Clint Frazier or Estevan Florial at this point) could likely get one of these two infielders in the fold for New York.

Yes, I am well aware that the Cubs are high on Happ and I am also aware that the team plans on having Happ play center field as soon as next season, but one must also consider the fact that the Cubs still have Albert Amora Jr. waiting in the wings, Jason Heyward on the books and Bryce Harper in their line of site for the 2019 season. Happ played five different positions in 2017 while hitting 24 home runs at just age 23. Yes, Happ strikes out a lot. Aaron Judge does too and so does Giancarlo Stanton. In the era of sabermetrics and advanced metrics though a strikeout counts almost the same as a 400 foot fly out to center field inside Yankee Stadium, you can deal with those. Plus, Happ is left-handed which would be a great compliment to the aforementioned Stanton and Judge who are both right-handed along with fellow slugger Gary Sanchez.

Happ plays second and the Yankees stopgap at third base until Gleyber Torres is ready and his service calendar is delayed a season, the infield is set. The bench is set with Tyler Wade, Austin Romine or Alex Avila (remember we saved money by trading away David Robertson), Clint Frazier and Tyler Austin. I know what you’re asking, where is Jacoby Ellsbury? I am also eating his salary, up to about two-thirds of his salary, and I am also sending him to the San Francisco Giants but not along with Jordan Montgomery. That, I have to agree with “little p” patrick, is crazy talk. We are eating the salary, or we are sending a good prospect or MLB-proven player, not both. Bryan, himself, showed us that Ellsbury can still be useful and valuable so I don’t see a need in sending a proven player along with him. If the Giants want another player or two that most of us probably have never heard of, fine. Sweeten the pot and take the chance, but you don’t give them Montgomery and you don’t give them anyone who has a chance of making the team during the 2018 season in my opinion. Maybe send a couple of those fringe players that the team was unsure of adding to the 40-man roster for Rule 5 Draft protection, the who is not as important as the fact that Ellsbury and at least all but $7-10 million of his salary annually is gone while Frazier is still on the team.

The Yankees have plenty of arms to survive the loss of Robertson and to survive the season until either Chance Adams or Justus Sheffield or ready, or until the July 31st trading deadline arrives. Whichever comes first. If a need arises before-hand then you adjust just like any other team filling the slot with Chad Green or Adam Warren who are both coming to camp as starting pitchers, although likely to end up in the bullpen when all is said and done, and Opening Day is upon us. With the luxury tax threshold a real thing and the plan to get under it finally coming to fruition for the Yankees the time to “get greedy” has come and passed. The team has to be smart and they need to assess what is a want, like a sixth starting pitcher, and what is a need, an infielder and maybe a bullpen arm if my trade happens.

So what exactly is my boldest prediction of all? In a world where every wants the Yankees to go crazy, get greedy and acquire someone like a Michael Fulmer, Gerrit Cole or Patrick Corbin I am just sitting here expecting the five pitchers currently on the roster to be the starting five on Opening Day. Save some money and some ammo, i.e. prospects, for the trade deadline and get more for your buck. I expect, and boldly predict, the Yankees heavy lifting to be done aside from an infielder. Here’s to hoping Ian Happ or bust in the Bronx.

What are your bold predictions for the 2018 season?


  1. I have no problem with the Montgomery to SF thing. Without being back a decent prospect along with salary relief it is crazy.

    What I disagree with is that there's no way the Yankees have a 5 man bench. That would mean 10 pitchers, or just 5 relievers.

    1. Sorry... 11 pitchers, or 6 relievers.

    2. Not to nit pick or cherry pick but I only had a four man bench.

    3. Sorry, I missed the word "or" between Avila and Romine. I didn't say it at the time (I was on my phone, and hate typing on it) but I also thought it was very odd to have two catchers on the bench.

    4. Okay, fair enough. And I also hate typing on my phone so I feel you there. We could always run the three man bench and adjust accordingly I guess. Having a healthy Tyler Austin and Tyler Wade on the bench should more than fill any needs we need, I just had to include Frazier since I didn't trade him. Had to play him somewhere as I think it would be counter productive to send him back down to AAA at this point in his career.

  2. My predictions are....
    No more trades other than dumping Ells!
    We have Holder and Torreyes for 2nd,3rd or SS with Miguel Andujar for 3rd!
    We have 7/8 starters three of whom have physical problems.
    Getting Ellis playing elsewhere is what we need!

    1. If it weren't for this...

      "We've got a lot of good stuff that is already in place and we've got more good stuff coming." - Brian Cashman, after the trade for Giancarlo Stanton

      ... then I would be there with you. In fact, in my bold predictions post I was going to say the Yankees didn't trade for a starter like Cole, Fulmer, or Corbin at all. But that quote kept haunting me, along with the "ninja" stuff, so I went with Fulmer.

  3. The Yankees have to make room for Clint Frazier or trade him. I agree with Daniel that it would be counterproductive, at this point, to send him to Eastern PA. I keep expecting Cashman to come up with a brilliant trade for a pitcher that none of us have talked about. Unfortunately, I just can't come up with anybody other than the usual suspects.

  4. Hans / Hansel: Please surface. Things are better when you contribute.

    1. I have been trying to play with Gretel in these cold winter days. I have to tell you that I'm not sure if the elf is hiding in the weeds waiting to strike or not. I read he engaged the O's again about Machado. I would rather wait till next year and sign as FA then just give top prospects away. No body is mentioning the Arod, Machado connection. Manny grew up idolizing Arod and the two worked out constantly. Arod is going to steer Manny our way unless Hal goes on the cheap when it comes time to spend. I don't want Cole I would rather spend the money on Cobb. He knows the AL east and prospects don't have to be exchanged. I just think the elf is sending away too many prospects recently and I'm not talking about the Stanton move. Stay warm out there

    2. Gretel's Guy.
      Finally, a benchmark poster. Welcome back.

      I agree. Machado is more fantasy, than reality at this point.
      I also think the Cole trade...has sailed. Enough already.

      Hearing again, that Stanton could be in D.C. by April.
      Bluster? Who really knows ?...Try typing in Harper for RF.

      Glad to see your words again.....Stay well.

  5. Every year the Yankees make a trade or pick up someone that is a "WAS" good ballplayer. Last year it was two of them.
    Note to Cashman....
    Just talk Hal into eating half (or more) of Ells contract, trade both Ells and Brett move Clint to CF then, we have the players in place for a real run...just like I said two years ago.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)